"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive." Anaïs Nin

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Why Churches and Synagogues Need to Caption

Over 20%  of new hearing aids are being purchased for our returning veterans who have lost their hearing while serving our country. While hearing aids help, they aren't a cure, nor are they perfect. Even with hearing aids, many words and phrases are difficult to decipher. When this happens, isolation happens. Social situations are avoided all together, and for many, this means they no longer have access to a community that was once available to them when they could previously hear. Sadly, the most important communities that are no longer attended are the spiritual communities. This can be easily solved. 

While many churches and synagogues are thoughtful enough to offer ASL interpreters for the deaf, they overlook having Captions for the largest growing group of Disabled Americans - people with hearing loss. Many don't know Sign Language because their culture is the hearing culture. Their friends, family, social groups and communities do not use ASL. BUT Deaf and hard of hearing and people with hearing loss, as well as people learning English as a second language ALL benefit from having captions. 

We depend on captions for television, movies, relay phone calls, live theater and meetings, etc. However, captions are lacking at churches at synagogues. As a result we no longer attend. We feel excluded from the spiritual communities. (See more about this in the video at the bottom of this post.)

Churches would greatly benefit higher attendance and more donations if they provided captions for the most over looked Disabled community of citizens - the people with hearing loss and deafness.

We would not want to burden a small, struggling church with costs for captioning. However for multi-million dollar churches to continue to say "No" when asked year after year for captions, something isn't right - especially if they provide ASL for the small Deaf community.

Churches and synagogues CAN be inclusive and provide Access to Language. It is easy to provide CART,  real time captioning, if they took time to be educated and learn why this is so important.

There are wonderful professionals available to provide the service remotely over the internet. The technology to do this is amazing and worth the investment. It is heartbreaking to see churches and synagogues that are incredibly "financially healthy" sending thousands of dollars overseas to connect people with God, but denying the very people in their neighborhood the very same opportunity by not providing captions.

People are asking their spiritual communities everywhere to provide this service. How wonderful that some churches have jumped immediately to meet this need.

God is inclusive. If God is inclusive, so should spiritual communities.

Providing captions is such a small thing to do for your neighbor, and it is an incredibly huge action of love.

Encourage your church or synagogue to provide this service, and PUBLICIZE that it is available in your literature, in your announcements, your websites, put signs on your doors and everywhere else. People are looking for God and a place to "see" the word and love of God acted upon with intention, in word, and in deed, 

Watch this short 3 minute video to understand the need for captions more fully:

Want to know more? Here are a few places with more information:

CCAC provides information and support for "Community" access via captioning, such as this webpage on our site: http://ccacaptioning.org/cart-community-clubs-religious-organizations-social-groups/

Need Captions? Just ask here: CaptionMatch.com

Great video and info here: http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/disability_issues&id=7997085




Saturday, July 26, 2014

Harrisburg, PA Captured on Camera - beyondsecond

One of the things I loved about the city of Harrisburg, PA is that it is a mecca for artists. For decades,  Artsfest has been one of the most attended venues along the waterfront of the Susquehanna River, downtown Harrisburg. The wonderful thing about the city is that artists can display their work not only at the festivals and museums, but online as well.

Fabulous Husband has been displaying his photography on this website for several years along with other talented artists. Take a peek:     http://www.beyondsecond.com

A word of caution... you may lose track of time browsing the fabulous photos and scenes of the city.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Part 3: Mastery of Change by Sean Morgan

Hello, this is guest blogger Sean Morgan. Previously, I was able to
share the second installment of a book I wrote called "The Mastery Of
Change, Choosing Mental and Emotional Wellness". We are getting into
the realm of emotions and beliefs. If we are programmed by our genes
and culture to believe things that cause us suffering, we have to
deprogram ourselves of this "outdated software". I was extremely
influenced by the work of author Byron Katie. She helped me realize
that we have the choice in what we believe and in turn, how we feel.
This is very liberating. Next week I will discuss how Byron Katie's
system of inquiry works on a practical and biological level. First we
need to learn how to put out the fires of emotion before they cause so
much chaos that we do not have the opportunity to deconstruct beliefs
at all.
Releasing An Emotion
Emotions can be very strong and seductive. You can feel out of
control when you experience a potent emotion. An emotion can grip you
at light speed and you may have little awareness of the successive
steps that led to your thoughtless words and actions. With repeated
emotional experiences in relationships, workplace dynamics, and your
daily life, you will have more awareness, and the experience will seem
to slow down. You will have more free will to be conscious of your
actions. That is when a pattern can be broken. I used to get very
angry and yell at my girlfriend when we disagreed. I always felt very
justified in expressing myself this way. I felt that I had a valid
emotion to express. Recently, after lot of reflection on taking
responsibility for my emotions, the energy of anger appeared in a
disagreement with her. This time, I used breathing techniques instead
of yelling at her. Also, my ability to use positive words in that
moment helped douse the flames of our argument. A pattern that had
been in place for years had been broken by taking responsibility for
my emotions and responses.

Follow these steps during a negative emotional experience:

Identify that the emotion does not feel good.

Take responsibility to do something about it.

Breathe into the area of your body where there is contraction.

Ask yourself if you are willing to let go of the emotion. (See Sedona

Emotions are very temporary. According to neuroanatomist Jill
Bolte-Taylor, author of My Stroke Of Insight, the chemicals of an
emotion are flushed from our system after 90 seconds (2008). However,
we experience a cascade of additional negative emotions if we choose
to continue to feed the stories in our minds that are causing them.
Starve the negative emotion of fuel and it will die. If the inner
dialogue continues, choose to watch it instead of identifying with it.
Notice the petty tone of the internal voice and recognize that it is
ego and not love. Continue to breathe into the area and ask the
question "Am I Willing To Let This Go?" until the emotion subsides.

Laughing, crying, sighing, yelling (preferably not at someone),
moaning, and singing also physically expel emotions like a reflex.
There are formal practices using these techniques in the companion
workbook. Releasing emotions starts with subtle work. Throughout the
day, many kinds of experiences could cause you to hold your breath
slightly and constrict. Just notice, relax into it and breathe. For
the heavy duty emotions, the physical reflexes can be used
intuitively. Remember not to feed the stories in your mind, as you
don't want to train yourself to be a releaser and not a solver.


What stories do you tell yourself in your head that refuel negative emotions?

(ex: I know better than he does what I should be doing with my life,
how dare he tell me how to live my life.)


What could you tell yourself to end the internal dialogue during an
emotional cycle?

(ex: I am responsible for my own emotions. Blaming others won't help me.)


Deconstructing Beliefs And Creating New Ones

If you have a disempowering belief, it will keep causing negative emotions for the rest of your life until it is cleared. You could consider it a disease or a virus. It is like a weed in the garden of your mind.

Example: If you notice that you experience a negative emotion when you
see a luxury car, try to find the root belief that causes the emotion.
At first you might think you have a belief that:

"Rich people are evil"...but that could be a secondary belief.

The primary belief behind it could be... "There aren't enough
resources in the world for everyone to be taken care of."

Or the belief that... "The world/society or human nature is not the
way it should be."

You can root out the secondary beliefs to destroy the medium-sized
roadways. If you change the big beliefs, you will destroy the highway
of negativity and leave a yellow brick road in its wake. Your new
belief might be that every person deserves to have their dreams
fulfilled. This new path could make you feel wonderful when you see a
luxury car. Your new belief will allow you to feel joy for others'
achievements. The same situation that caused a negative emotion in
one instance can cause a positive one once the belief is rooted out.
Therefore, the circumstance is not the problem... the problem is
actually your interpretation of it. Beliefs are not permanently gone
when you deconstruct them. Your new belief must be practiced, and
that pathway must become a highway bigger than the old one.

-- Love Is The Answer To All Great Questions

Monday, July 21, 2014

Testimonial by Kay Tyberg Regarding Deafness and Hearing Loss

This excellent letter is written by my friend, Kay I had the pleasure of serving with Kay on the Pennsylvania Advisory Council for Hearing Loss Association of America. She is a joy to know and to work with. Though this is written as a letter, it was actually from her speech when she appeared before PA Governor Tom Corbett and Commissioners regarding long term care and hearing loss.

Kay kindly granted me permission to share this with you. She aptly demonstrated to the audience what it feels like to experience hearing loss and not have access to language, or what is going on. Kay goes on to articulately describe the challenges MILLIONS of us with deafness and hearing loss face each day.

May 31, 2014

Governor Tom Corbett
ATTN:  OLTL Policy
Long Term Care Commissioners
PO Box 8025
Harrisburg, PA  17105

RE:  Testimonial-HLA/LC, Tyberg
Dear Governor Corbett & Commissioners:

I represent the thousands of elderly Pennsylvanians on behalf of the Hearing Loss Association of America as a deaf advocate, an educator, a peer mentor, and human services professional.

I am at the podium with the microphone.  Think about this scenario.  I am standing at the podium with the microphone without using my voice, but moving my lips saying the following…”Thank you Governor Corbett for funding the Long Term Care policy for Pennsylvanians, and I thank the commissioners for being present today to hear the voices of elderly individuals with diverse ability issues.”  The people in the audience and the commissioners are listening and moving forward trying to hear what I am saying but are stumped because they are not hearing anything.  People are thinking there is something wrong with the microphone system.  However, I begin to use my voice repeating what I just said in quotes.  People realized there was nothing wrong with the microphone system at all, but the fear and facial gestures of concern has gone away.  Everyone has now witnessed firsthand the world of silence, and the unknown whether you are young, middle-aged, or an elderly later-in-life individual with a hearing loss.  Think about how it felt when there was no communication.

Let me ask these “How would you feel” questions:
  • If as a grandparent attending your grandchild’s school play, orchestra or chorus concert, or graduation and you are unable to hear anything being said.
  • If you attend a Board of Education meeting unable to follow the dialogue or participate because of the seating arrangements and no accommodations.
  • If you participate in a training session or educational presentation in your community and unable to comprehend anyone as they speak.
  • If you attend a social event unable to hear or follow the conversations and dialogue, because you are unable to hear them.
  • If you are driving at night in a vehicle, and it is pitch black outside and you cannot see nor hear the person trying to have a conversation with you in the vehicle.
  • If you attend a township meeting as a taxpayer to know what is going on and provide community input and you cannot participate.
  • If you are unable to participate on a Board of Directors meeting because you are unable to hear because they officers decide at the last minute to use the speaker phone which you cannot understand, although your expertise would be a valuable resource.
  • If you decide not to apply for a job you are highly qualified for but you are unable to purchase a hearing aid or cochlear implant to hear over the telephone, but the company refuses to modify the job description for you to work there.
  • You stop attending church services which has been a major part of your life because you no longer can hear the pastor or lay people speaking during services.
  • If you are unable to go to movie theaters and enjoy the feature films or community plays being performed because you cannot afford to purchase hearing aids.
  • If family members and children live out of state and communication with the stops completely because you cannot purchase hearing aids to be able to hear them on the telephone or have no access to a computer.
  • If you are unable to go through a drive-thru window at any fast food restaurant like everyone else because you are unable to hear the person on the speaker.
  • If you are unable to communicate effectively with family members at home without continuous aggravation and frustration due to misunderstanding or repeating themselves.
  • If you are at a doctor’s office and unable to understand what the nurses and doctors is explaining to you about your medical condition.
  • If in an emergency or disaster situation in a shopping area where flooding has almost reached the top of the levy and an unmarked police car with a police officer inside the car announces on his speaker to evacuate the area immediately.  You do not hear this or see anything out of the norm except you observe people are rushing out of stores and not sure what’s happening.  This causing fear and panic on your part because you did not hear this audio announcement.
  • If a person cannot hear someone knocking on their front door because they cannot hear.
These are only a handful of examples people with hearing loss face almost daily.  This also illustrates how our technology audio savvy society overlooks the needs of individuals with hearing loss.  Grant you technology has done wonders for hearing loss with advanced assistive technology devices, e-mail access, cell phone access through text messaging, and relay services.  Hearing aids, and all specialized assistive technology devices are paid by the consumer.  Insurances are not there to help us.  The exception to the rule is the use of PATF, veterans getting assistance through the VA, and if a person is working getting assistances from the vocational rehabilitation program.

I emphasize medical health insurance and durable medical equipment under Social Security does not cover the cost of hearing aid(s) ranging from $800 to $4,000 each.  There are 39 million Americans accounted for by CDC with hearing loss.  I know this figure does not really touch on the reality of the true statistics, because so many go without hearing aids due to financial hardship.  In our area alone, 17% of the elderly have a hearing loss.  This has become quite an issue where I work as an AmeriCorp member at the Office of Aging where resources are not available for people with hearing loss.  I see this all the time!!!!  There is not a day I am out in the community where I don’t meet an individual with a hearing loss or wears a hearing aid.  I am meeting more elderly on fixed incomes and no family members at all with hearing loss.

There are two words I am “hearing” consistently in this meeting today…”communication and safety”.  Our inability to hear creates communication barriers.  Once an individual realizes they have a hearing loss and doesn’t know where to go or who to turn to for resources and financial assistance the enormous challenge is just beginning in their lives.  What do I mean?  It is not just about the hearing loss itself, but the person begins to withdraw from social events or family interactions.  What is worse is the frustration, aggravation, anger, anxiety, and onset of depression.  This obvious leads to more medical issues than the hearing loss alone and becomes a costly problem.

Hearing loss like dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, and other major illnesses our elderly Pennsylvania residents endure need adequate medical attention.  However, I have witnessed firsthand sadly at meetings such as this one how hearing loss tends to take a back seat when it is just as important as the diseases we mentioned.  Are nursing home and other facilities adequate for elderly with hearing loss – no?  Hearing loss research shows these individuals suffer from dementia.  Americans have worked all their lives to survive and raise their family for future generations.  These same Pennsylvanians have paid their taxes and helped the community they lived in.  As an individual in the human services field with a hearing loss our state needs to assist those with hearing loss for elderly assistive living quarters and medical devices.  The baby boomer generation is not willing to sit back in their rocking chair - - - we are doers beyond retirement age.

As a peer mentor for individuals with hearing loss, individuals share their frustrations and discontent with agencies and services.  For example, many fliers and brochures from agencies have no other alternative contact to the agency except by phone number.  How does the deaf elderly person participate or get help?  People are asking for help and HLAA directs people to the right resources whether it is about coping and adjusting with hearing loss or how to purchase a hearing aid.  The HLAA can guide individuals with resources, education, support, and information so people can sustain a better quality of life.

Our Hearing Loss Association of America-Pennsylvania Advisory Council is willing to provide staff/personnel training about hearing loss to agencies and interested businesses.  We also work closely with the ODHH.  This will break down the myths and communication barriers.  It is my hope the Long Term Care Commission will “hear” our voices which has been neglected for so long.

I thank the commissioners for being here at Pennsylvania College of Technology and allowing me to provide this testimony about a critical problem.

Kay Tyberg
President of HLAA-LCC
Advisory Council Member of HLAA-PA
Certified Peer Mentor for Hearing Loss
Sign Language Instructor
Deaf Advocate

Friday, July 18, 2014

ANNOUNCEMENT: Our Transcontinental Move is Happening!

I can FINALLY share with everyone our BIG news! It's official - we are leaving Eastern US in SEPTEMBER and moving West to the Oregon Coast!

My Fabulous Husband officially retires from the Pennsylvania State Office of Attorney General as their Communications Specialist. He had the awesome opportunity of working with special agents these past years who are, in my eyes, heroes. His office tracked down child predators, scammers who bilked senior citizens out of their money, unethical medical practitioners who committed fraud, and organizations in PA that are guilty of human trafficking. The PA Office of Attorney General has had a 100% conviction rate due to their impeccable detective work and diligence. His co-workers have been good to him, and to us. We are appreciative to everyone he's worked with and he will miss them very much, but a new adventure awaits us on the West Coast.

Fabulous Husband has been offered a partnership with a franchise doing what he loves - photography! The region he and his new partner have are the Central Southern Oregon Coast, Eugene and Roseburg areas. He's been wanting to see more of the Oregon, and this provides him to travel and   take photos of the beautiful and varied scenery that Oregon is known for. Fabulous husband has a daughter and granddaughter in Montana, and it will be a pleasure to be closer to them. We can skip the plane flights and opt for road trips to see our families. I only wish my mother was still alive to see this and share in the joy of our return. I sorely miss her each day...

I'm looking forward to seeing more of my daughter and watching my grandson grow up. I've missed that while being so far away.

I've already been in contact with the Oregon Hearing Loss Association of America to find out where my local chapter will be. We aren't yet sure exactly which city we will be settling in at this point, and there are a few places that have no active HLAA chapters. I may have to start one up with the help of the Oregon HLAA. Having said that, I won't be doing that this autumn or winter. My number one priority is finding a home, getting our 10 year old registered with school, settling in and helping Fabulous Husband get his business underway.

We've already shipped many things out to Oregon, and we have a few more to ship yet, but the moving process has begun. There won't be much room in the motor home to take much with us, and we are taking a 3 week vacation to drive across the U.S.

I'm looking forward to revisiting some of the sights along the way that I saw with my mom when we took family road trips throughout the Southwest as I was growing up. My parents closed their business a few weeks each summer and we spent a lot of time traveling, visiting Native American dwellings, museums and national parks. It's going to be wonderful sharing these places with Fabulous Husband and Bear (our son).  We'll also be touring a few places I've not been to as yet, such as Sedona, AZ and for Bear, Roswell, New Mexico. He was all over that when we started planning together the places we want to see. Fabulous Husband wants to get photos of Antelope Canyon. Those are just a few stops on our agenda.

Through this blog, I've connected with many new friends, and we plan to meet some of them in person for the first time. I can't wait!!

The only difficulty in all of this is saying goodbye to the many wonderful friends we have connected with here in Pennsylvania. My time these past 7 years has been filled with inspiring and amazing people, and they have enriched my life spiritually, artistically, and lovingly. I have been blessed with a huge number of encouragers and supporters from various walks of life and backgrounds. My heart is full of gratitude for all of them, and to God for bringing each soul across my path. My friends have contributed to my personal growth, healing and balance. I hope that I have been as much a blessing to them as they have been to me.

I will continue to blog, and as we journey toward the next phase of our life and post photos of the places we visit. There may be fewer blog posts while we continue to pack and prepare. I have the luxury of taking time to thoroughly sort and pack in an organized manner with this move and I like that.

Fabulous Husband preparing to capture a sunset over the Pacific Ocean at Shore Acres State Park, Oregon. I took this during our visit in July 2012

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Revisiting The Social Challenges of Hearing Loss

*previously published, August 2, 2013

"The Social Challenges of Hearing Loss" as seen in ALDA News

Many of you who are members of ALDA (Association of Late Deafened Adults) received the latest ALDA News, Summer, 2013 Volume 29, Issue 3 this week. The Editor, Nancy Kingsley contacted me and asked if I would be interested in submitting something for them along theme of social challenges regarding hearing loss. It was a privilege to be asked to submit an article, and a pleasant surprise to see my story on the front cover.

Have you ever had an embarrassing moment of miscommunication? I have, numerous times. Here is one of my more memorable moments...

The Social Challenges of Hearing Loss

By Joyce Edmiston

You might think that as a child with a hearing loss, I would have grown up being used to social situations where it is difficult to follow what is being said and what is going on. It wasn’t like that for me. In fact, in many ways, I was socially stunted because of my hearing loss.

Much of what goes on is accessed through the ears. Conversations are happening around us everywhere we go, and people learn about social graces by listening to the comments of others. (This is called incidental learning.) We learn how to use words to convey emotions, social norms, acceptable behavior, and small talk. On more than one occasion, people have mentioned that I don’t waste much time getting to the point, and as a result, I sometimes come across as rude. I’m not actually being rude—I just know that by the time I get to the end of small talk, I’ll be worn out from trying to follow the conversation and be so mentally exhausted that I’ll miss important parts.  I’m sure some of you reading this can relate. It’s so much easier just to get to the point, but that’s not the norm. People talk a lot without saying much before arriving at what they actually want to communicate. The small pleasantries of discussing the weather, asking how the family is, and even a simple “how are you” can turn into a huge discussion.

I’ve noticed through the years that as my hearing deteriorates further, it becomes easier for me to talk a lot about nothing just so I won't have to ask the other person time and again, “I’m sorry?” or “Could you repeat that, please?”  If I do most of the talking, there is less chance that I will answer inappropriately. That is my biggest fear when it comes to socializing, and I spent many years isolating myself because of it. I don’t know the scientific name for this phobia, if there is one. It was never a problem for me until I went to the dinner party that changed that. 

I was married to a military police officer in the early 1980s. This was before I got my first hearing aids. (It was actually this man who set me up with the audiologist that prescribed my first ones, courtesy of the U. S. Army, while we were stationed in Europe, but this happened after the story I’m about to tell you.)

That husband—I’ll call him  M.P. for military policeman—received orders to report to Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia. I was 22 at the time. We opted to live off base in a house near Kings Ferry and Ogeechee. The landlord lived on the other side of the watermelon patch behind the rental. He was very friendly, the epitome of Southern hospitality, and invited us to his home for dinner the next day with some of their friends. His wife, he said, made the best barbeque in these parts. Although I was nervous about meeting new people and making new friends, I knew it was important to accept the invitation.

M.P. went through processing the next day.  He had a bad reaction to the typhoid fever vaccination and was sent home early.  He began developing a fever and needed to get into bed. By now, it was late afternoon, and we were expected at Mr. and Mrs. Landlord’s house in just a couple of hours. While I was debating whether I should stay home and be a nurse, M.P. said to just go to the neighbor's for dinner. It wasn’t like I was driving across town—I would be right next door, and he wanted to be left alone and sleep.

I walked past the watermelon patch up to Mr. and Mrs. Landlord’s home. Mr. Landlord introduced to their adult son and their friends, a young couple. The gentleman was an officer from the base where  M.P. was just processed. I don’t remember much about his girlfriend other than she was lovely and so soft spoken that I didn’t hear her well. I let them carry the conversation and I didn’t say too much.

As the hostess prepared each plate, I began to lose my appetite. The meat was a gray stringy concoction with a watery gray sauce. Not wanting to be rude, I began to think about what I could say so she wouldn’t put as much on my plate as she was giving everyone else. When she looked my direction as she picked up a plate, I requested, “Not too much for me, if you don’t mind. My husband and I had a very late lunch today.”

While I was watching the hostess as she began putting a small portion on my plate, the officer sitting across from me asked, “Where is he at?”

 "He’s home in bed,” I replied.

Mrs. Landlord frowned and gave me an odd look. I glanced at her husband, who gave me a very stern look. Then I looked at the officer who had asked me the question. His face was red, and it looked as though he was trying to keep from laughing.

Warning bells went off in my head. Something just wasn’t right. I asked the officer, “You did ask me ‘Where’s he at?,’ didn’t you?”

Still red-faced, he slowly shook his head no. “I asked, ‘What did you have for lunch?’ ”

To say I was greatly embarrassed is an understatement. To this day I don’t remember what the food tasted like, what we talked about, or anything else other than how quickly I left for home with the excuse, “I need to go check on my husband.”

I can laugh about this today, because it really is funny. However, back when I was young, inexperienced, and awkward in social gatherings, this misunderstanding caused me to not go anywhere socially without M.P. I lost many wonderful opportunities by allowing that moment to define my social choices. I missed out on friendships, meeting fascinating new people, and traveling with other military wives when we were stationed in Europe. As a young woman, I didn’t know how to explain my hearing loss or advocate for myself.

This is why I believe it’s so important to have support groups such as ALDA and HLAA (Hearing Loss Association of America) and why I love reading stories about other deafened, hard of hearing, and Deaf people. I also think it’s why blogging is on the rise among us. If you haven’t checked out some of these blogs, I encourage you to do so. You’ll learn, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll understand, and you’ll relate. Here are a few blogs I like to visit:

Amy Sargent aka Deaf Girl Amy is a wonderful writer, advocate, and blogger at http://deafgirlamy.com/thriving-deafie-spotlight.html

Be sure to check the trailer for Amy’s book, A Survival Guide for New Deafies, at http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=qfk0pnt9fDQ

Author Shanna Bartlett Groves, aka Lipreading Mom, blogs at http://lipreadingmom.com

Mike McConnell has been blogging about deaf and hard of hearing issues the longest: http://kokonutpundits.blogspot.com/?m=1

Charlie Swinbourne, a TV screen writer in the UK, publishes an international e-daily, “The Limping Chicken,” athttp://limpingchicken.com

If you’re looking for a place that covers a wide variety of issues regarding deafness from bloggers around the world, check out http://www.deafread.com

For the top blogs that cover deafness, go to http://deaf.alltop.com

While you’re at it, stop by my blog athttp://xpressivehandz.blogspot.com , where there is something new each week. I also encourage others to guest post. Do you have something on your mind you would like to share? Email me at xpressivehandz@hotmail.com and put “Blog Post” in the subject line.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Oticon Advocate of the Year Voting to Close July 15: Be sure to vote!!

Vote for Joyce Edmiston (Xpressive Handz) in the 2014 Focus on People Awards! 
Vote Online at oticonusa.com now through July 15 
Oticon, Inc. has narrowed this year’s finalists down to nine outstanding people with hearing loss who are helping to change negative stereotypes of what it means to have a hearing loss.   
Each is unique, remarkable and inspiring.  And we are pleased to announce that Joyce Edmiston has been chosen as a finalist in the Advocacy category! 
Please help us recognize Joyce as one of the top finalists by casting your vote at oticonusa.com. 
This is the 16th year that the Oticon Focus on People Awards has honored hearing impaired students, adults and advocacy volunteers who have demonstrated through their accomplishments that hearing loss does not limit a person’s ability to make a positive difference in the world.  
We encourage you to read all of the stories from this year’s finalists.  Our goal is to help Oticon reach as many people as possible with the inspirational stories of the Focus on People Award finalists.   
Please share this email with your family, friends and anyone you think would enjoy reading about the accomplishments of some remarkable people with hearing loss who show that hearing loss does not limit a person’s ability to achieve, contribute and inspire. 
And please encourage them to vote for Joyce! 
Voting closes on July 15Winners will be announced in August. 
Page Break 
2014 Oticon Focus on People Awards – Advocacy Category Finalist 
Joyce Edmiston 
As a child with hearing loss, Joyce Edmiston lost many opportunities to interact with other children in social and school activities. As a young adult, she recognized that “I missed out on friendships, meeting fascinating new people . . . I didn’t know how to explain my hearing loss or advocate for myself.”   
Over time, with encouragement from her husband, bloggers and Hearing Loss Association of America, she gained the courage and wisdom to make her voice heard in a hearing world.  
Today, Joyce freely shares her hard-won knowledge as a vocal advocate for people with all degrees of hearing loss. Through her popular blog Xpressive HandZ (http://xpressivehandz.blogspot.com/), Joyce provides a forum for discussion of a wide range of issues for people with hearing loss around the world.    
Her insightful, heartfelt postings aim to generate thought-provoking discussion that allows others to be “heard” as well.  All viewpoints, opinions and stories are welcome.  Joyce writes, “I love reading stories about deafened, hard of hearing, and Deaf people. . .  you’ll learn, you'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll understand, and you'll relate.”  
A scan of her posts reveals the scope of her efforts to encourage the teaching of ASL in schools, to inform the deaf and hard-of-hearing population of valuable, useful information, and to meet the communication needs of those who do not use sign language as their primary mode of communication.   
Though passionate about the teaching of American Sign Language (ASL), Joyce formed a committee to educate local churches the need to provide captioned services for those who do not communicate by sign language.  This same committee brought live captioning to the Giant Center in Hershey, PA for the first time. 
Joyce volunteers with the Telecommunications Relay Service Advisory Board for the Pennsylvania PUC, the Collaborative for Communication via Captioning, and with HLAA at both local and state levels. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Part 2 of series "The Mastery of Change, Choosing Mental and Emotional Wellness" by Sean Morgan

This is part 2 in the series by Guest Writer, Sean Morgan:

Hello, this is guest blogger Sean Morgan. Last week, I was able to share the introduction to a book I wrote called "The Mastery Of Change, Choosing Mental and Emotional Wellness". I wrote this book after I was able to let go of some very debilitating patterns in myself and embrace a pattern of positivity that continues to spiral ever upward. I'm a very curious person by nature. I wanted to know how I did it. So after some very intense reflections and conversations, it started to come out. Without too much reference to other philosophies or therapeutic models, I attempted to explain how our mind/body/spirit system works without jargon. I realized that I was attempting something very ambitious, but I figured that if even one person with similar struggles as myself would benefit, it would be worth writing and sharing. What came out surprised myself, because I have never attempted to write a book. As an unacademic person, I was able to talk about emotions, beliefs, confidence, achievement, and healing change from a very practical perspective. I include writing prompts and reflections throughout the book for people to actively participate in the learning process. Here is the second installment of the book. I hope it gives you insight and practical tools for your daily life.

Our understanding of emotions and unseen bioenergetic fields is very basic.  In this book I create an imaginary model and use metaphors to demonstrate how I understand emotions in my personal experience.  These models, much like the models of atoms first created by Niels Bohr and others, are not accurate.  They are educated  guesses to explain how the universe works.  I do not ask that you believe these models just because I suggest them.  I would encourage you to use the exercises and see for yourself if these models accurately predict how energy flows in your body and your life.  New age people as well as scientists throw around the word energy quite a bit.  According to science, everything is made of waves of energy, including matter.  I use the term to describe any wave that cannot be seen.
Through a physical regimen that includes a diet of water, nutritious food, and moderate challenge to our bodies (exercise), we develop strong bones, tissue, fat, and muscle.  These become our physical resources that we can use to live off of in times of crisis.  It is a wonderful system for resilience.  We also have an intelligence within our bodies that discards toxins, which are substances we ingest that do not serve our survival.
Another layer of our being is our “emotional body”.  The result of how our system responds to the total of all input at any given point is our emotional state.  Our being filters the energy in our field including food, sound, thought waves, and all other stimulus.  The result of this filtration of energy is a physical response which ranges on a spectrum from positive and life-giving to negative and life-destroying, with neutral in the middle.  We have many words to describe what it feels like when energy is flowing freely, elegantly, and efficiently through our bodies, feeding our organs and body parts.  They are the positive emotions.  There is also a lexicon for the overall feeling we get when sluggish death-causing energy stagnates within our being.  They are the negative emotions.   Yes, negative emotions cause disease.  In fact, according to Lett et al, depression could be a causal factor for heart disease (2004).  
Clinical neuropsychologist Dr. Mario Martinez does fascinating research on cultural programming and emotional causes of disease.  In one of his papers, he demonstrates that women in different cultures experience menopausal symptoms differently depending on the cultural beliefs about them.  You can access his research at Biocognitive.org.
We know that we have to bring in fresh, clean nutrients and cleanse ourselves of toxins through elimination processes to be physically healthy.  We know that we have to build our bodies through moderate challenge.  Although we can try to blame genetics and others if we are fat, the truth is hard to deny.  We do have free will regarding what we put into our bodies and how much we challenge our bodies through exercise.  I encourage you to take a stance of responsibility for your emotional body as well, for it is indivisible from your physical body.  
You must feed your body with positive emotions on a daily basis.  See the reference section of this book for research linking positive emotions and physical health.  You must eliminate toxic negative emotions when they come up as well.  Every behavior in which you engage has an emotional result.  Through awareness you will know which behaviors are emotionally healthy and which ones are not.  Just like exercise, building a healthy emotional body takes effort and can be uncomfortable.  When you make the conscious choice to change from a negative pattern to a positive one, the change itself is uncomfortable but has an undeniably wonderful result.  This book has exercises that you can practice to build a healthy emotional body so that in times of crisis and intense challenge, you have the inner resources to adapt, survive, and thrive.
It’s difficult to talk about the emotional body, the physical body, and the mind with its thoughts and beliefs because they are not separate.  The scientific world tends to categorize and compartmentalize phenomenon that is actually connected.  Even so, using words and concepts with which people are familiar will help me to illustrate a more integral understanding.
In the same way that we cannot survive without food, we need positive emotions to survive.  Furthermore, we cannot survive with only negative emotions.  That would be like eating a diet of poison and never eliminating it. The experience of negative emotions in our lives is inevitable, in the same way that the experience of toxins in our environment is inevitable for our physical bodies.  Physical health is so straightforward; you just eat clean natural food and have regular elimination of toxins.  But what about emotional fitness?  How do we build our emotional body so that we can endure times of crisis and starvation of emotional nutrition?
Emotions are not the subject of as many scientific studies, so we have to work with limited understanding and create a mental model of how they work.  It’s hard to imagine a problem with being too happy, too kind, or too positive.  But drug, sex, and food addiction come to mind as ways that people seek to feel positive emotions in an unhealthy way.  This is where the conscious mind has to step in and recognize that the initial positive emotion is just masking a longer-term negative effect.  
A negative emotion is one that you would prefer not to feel.  How do we release them?  When you realize that you are feeling a negative emotion, that’s a good thing because you’ve taken the first step toward releasing it, which is realizing that it’s there.  Here comes the counterintuitive part: the trick to releasing it is to keep your consciousness on it and feel it moving inside you.  Follow it with your mind.  Feel the breath slowly encouraging its release.   Breathe into the area of your body where you feel the contraction, and consciously relax there.  

When do you feel positive emotions such as contentment, confidence, and joy?  What do they feel like in your body?

Which emotions do you feel victimized by?

When do you feel these emotions?

What does it feel like in your body when you experience them?

How do you deal with negative emotions?

What positive strategies do you have to work with negative emotions?
(ex: I count to ten when I experience a strong emotion instead of refueling it with my thoughts.)

What are the strategies you use that make things worse?
(ex: I yell at my son when I feel angry.)

How Beliefs Relate To The Emotional Body
Beliefs are pathways that allow energy to flow through our beings.  It is a whole-body pattern, but I’ll talk a lot about the brain in this book because there is more scientific evidence available for it.  How the flow of energy feels to us is called an emotion.  If you believe that being alive is something to be grateful for, then you will feel a positive flow of emotion upon waking because you will realize that you are alive.  If you believe that you have to go to work to survive and you don’t enjoy work, then you will feel the opposite way when you hear the alarm clock.  
When I had depression, I had many beliefs that kept happiness at a distance or caused me pain.  I remember when I first learned that we have the power to deconstruct our own beliefs.  It was a major breakthrough for me.  I started to watch my own thoughts and laugh at how unhelpful they were.  Specifically, I remember when I got up the energy to go for a run.  Even though I rarely exercised and I was finally doing something helpful for myself, I had repetitive thought patterns about how I should be running faster and should be able to run longer.  I was abusing myself with these thoughts.  As soon as I realized what my belief was and deconstructed it, I could run in peace.  If the word “should” is in your thought, it is a clue that your thought is resistant to reality, and is therefore causing pain.  
Take responsibility for the belief.  It may stem from genetic predisposition or environmental conditioning, but the choice is now yours to tear down the pathway and build a better one that takes you straight to the destination of happiness.  Just releasing a negative emotion is like taking an aspirin for headaches.  Headaches are often relieved from headache medicine, but headaches are never caused by lack of medicine.  It is YOUR belief that caused you to feel the negative emotion.  By all means, take a pill to take care of the symptom, but then cure the disease!  Many headache medications contain vasodilators that allow blood energy to flow more.  You will see this trend repeatedly.  Constriction causes pain.  Relaxation causes happiness.  Of course life is a balance between the two, but most people are too tense!
A belief is a strong pattern through your entire being. In Hindu tradition, the term is samskara.  A compartmentalized way of looking at it is a pathway through your brain.  Every time you use a thought pattern, it becomes more engrained and your brain gets better at using the pathway.  When other pathway options come up, your brain likes to choose the highway because it is an easier, more familiar and well-trodden path.  

Write down the top ten beliefs that bring up the most emotion for you (positive or negative).  You can keep the positive and you can deconstruct the negative.










My strongest limiting belief about myself is:

My strongest positive belief about myself is:

My strongest limiting belief about my body is:

My strongest positive belief about my body is:

My strongest limiting belief about relationships is:

My strongest positive belief about relationships is:

My strongest limiting belief about my mother is:

My strongest positive belief about my mother is:

My strongest limiting belief about my father is:

My strongest positive belief about my father is:

My strongest limiting belief about money is:

My strongest positive belief about money is:

My strongest limiting belief about my career is:

My strongest positive belief about my career is: